I might even go as far as to say that it is possibly my favourite dessert, which is quite a bold statement given that I love most desserts – probably a little too much. What makes the perfect trifle? That’s a hard question to answer. Is a trifle a trifle if it doesn’t have jelly? Well yes of course it is, but I know there are people out there who wouldn’t agree.
When I was a little girl, trifle consisted of a layer of sponge (usually from a Swiss roll) topped with tinned fruit and set in jelly (made up with juice from the can of fruit). This was topped with a layer of set blancmange – can’t remember the last time I had blancmange but that’s beside the point. Then the blancmange was topped with whipped cream sprinkled with coloured sugar sprinkles.
Later the blancmange was replaced with a soft set custard – and I liked these trifles even more, if that was at all possible. Then after I had left home I started having trifles laced with sherry, liking them even more still and, imagine the shock – I had a trifle made without jelly! It wasn’t trifle as I knew it, but I still loved it. In fact, I couldn’t decide if I liked it more or not. Truth be told I think with or with out jelly, trifle is just fab!
So here is my current favourite trifle recipe. I’ve taken it one step further and topped it with syllabub – I used Marsala wine but you could use any sweet dessert wine or sherry. It’s definitely one for adults only.
To decorate the trifle I used some extra raspberries and sprinkled the top with some slithered pistachio nuts. Chopped pistachios, toasted flaked almonds or silver dragees (sugar balls) would also look pretty.
I hope you like it as much as I do and do let me know which camp you fall into: jelly, no jelly, or give me any trifle, now!
- for the custard
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 500 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- for the trifle
- 4 trifle spongers broken into chunks
- 3 tbsp marsala wine or sweet sherry
- 300 g fresh or frozen raspberries
- 75 g amaretti biscuits
- for the syllabub
- 600 ml double cream
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 150 ml marsala wine or sherry
- grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- to complete
- extra raspberries
- chopped or flaked pistachios almonds or silver dragees
- To make the custard, place the cornflour, caster sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until smooth, then whisk in the whole egg.
- Heat the milk until almost boiling then pour onto the egg mixture while whisking well.
- Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering hot water and keep whisking until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla paste. Cover with a sheet of dampened parchment, and allow to cool.
- To make the trifle, spread the sponge pieces in the bottom of a serving bowl and sprinkle with the marsala wine or sherry. Pile the raspberries on top.
- Break the amaretti biscuits into pieces and scatter over the raspberries. When the custard is cool spoon over the raspberries and level the top. Chill.
- To make the syllabub, place the cream, sugar, marsala wine or sherry, lemon juice and zest in a mixing bowl and whisk until it is just holding its shape. Carefully spoon over the custard and swirl.
- Just before serving arrange a few extra raspberries on top and sprinkle with nuts or dragees